“Grace and peace to you from God through Christ!”
After greeting the church at Philippi with the above greeting, the Apostle Paul gives thanks for them and offers this prayer:
9 And this is my prayer: that your lovemay abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1)
The insightful and discerning love Paul prays for is a love so needed as we seek to love our indigenous neighbours. They, along with many others around our country and world, continue to grieve the death of so many indigenous children in the history of residential schools. Last Sunday Tavistock Mennonite Church led us in a service of lament and confession as we were invited to reflect on the pain our indigenous neighbours carry. It is important that we ponder how we have contributed to this pain, or been blind to it.
As the service ended last week we were invited to look to the future and commit ourselves, through our words and deeds, to work in the power of God’s Spirit, “to build bridges of reconciliation; bridges that cross the barriers of skin colour, cultural heritage and faith.”
This bridge building work of reconciliation happens as we each take steps toward a more insightful and discerning love. A number of ministries in the broader Mennonite Church help us to take those steps.
“Indigenous-Settler Relations” is a ministry of Mennonite Church Canada. This ministry helps Mennonite communities grow in awareness of host peoples, and nurture justice-based friendships where love and understanding can grow. Their webpage states, “Our aim is to honour the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and live into the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as we pursue the costly path of Christ.” https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/indigenous
I invite you to check out the above link (and the ones below) to continue (or begin) the journey to a greater “knowledge and depth of insight” as we seek to love our indigenous neighbours.
Treaty as Sacred Covenant Videos – Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (mcec.ca)
Indigenous Neighbours – Mennonite Central Committee – https://mcccanada.ca/learn/what/categories/indigenous-neighbours
May our love “abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that we may be able to discern what is best….and be filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.